Court reporters are skilled professionals who draft transcriptions of legal court proceedings like hearings, trials and depositions. While there are many positive aspects of this career, it’s important that you consider some of the challenges as well. Learning about the duality of this job role can help you make a more informed decision about whether court reporting is ideal for you. In this article, we explore nine pros and cons of being a court reporter to help you decide whether to pursue this career.
Pros and cons of being a court reporter
Here are some of the pros and cons of working as a court reporter:
5 pros of being a court reporter
If you want to be a court reporter, here are some benefits to consider:
1. Good paying salaries
Working as a court reporter is a career that offers a decent-paying wage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary for a court reporter is $61,660 per year. This salary estimate is likely to vary for several reasons, such as an individual’s experience, geographical location, employer, academic qualifications, certifications and other achievements.
As you gain more experience in the field, you may be able to leverage your expertise to negotiate for a higher salary. You might use this tactic to get a raise from your current employer or to set specific salary expectations as you look for a job with a new employer.
2. Positive job outlook
If you choose to be a court reporter, you can expect a positive job outlook. According to the BLS, job growth projections expect opportunities for court reporters to rise by 3% between 2020 and 2030. This level of growth translates to about 2,100 new job openings each year. These professionals usually enjoy high job security, since federal and local institutions continue to require their services. Expected job growth is most likely to result from people leaving their positions and institutions needing replacements.
3. Minimal academic requirements
One of the best aspects of being a court reporter is that it doesn’t require extensive academic qualifications. There are many technical institutions and community colleges that provide postsecondary certifications and associate degrees. These credentials are usually enough to qualify an individual for entry-level court reporting positions. While some states require a professional association certification or state license, an expensive bachelor’s or graduate degree is not an explicit necessity to occupy this profession. Most states also require that candidates pass a typing-speed test to qualify.
4. Freelance opportunities
Court reporters have the potential to pursue freelance transcription opportunities. In this position, you get to decide your own work hours and enjoy a much greater level of day-to-day flexibility. Court reporters are essential throughout most of the nation, so while there might be state-specific certifications that you need, the basic skills that you possess are transferrable as you pursue new freelance jobs. If you become a freelance court reporter, you might earn substantially more money than if you had one employer.
5. Developing your skill set
Working as a court reporter is a profession where you can develop a diverse range of skills and diversify your competencies. These skills are often transferrable if you decide to pursue a new employer later in your career. Some of the most prominent skills you might develop include:
Attention to detail is a skill that helps you draft reports that are legible, accurate and error-free.
Concentration is a skill that ensures you can remain focused while working, which helps improve your productivity.
Listening is a critical skill because it enables you to hear what is being said during the proceeding with precision.
Multitasking is an essential skill that allows you to listen intently to the court case and write high-quality reports simultaneously.
Time management is necessary so you can complete your work in a timely manner.
Typing is the most important skill for a court reporter because it means they can type fast and with clarity.
4 cons of being a court reporter
Here are some cons of being a court reporter and tips to help you overcome those challenges:
1. Sedentary working environment
Being a court reporter is a mostly sedentary role, meaning that you’re sitting down, looking at a screen and typing for extended periods of time. Working in this manner can sometimes negatively impact your health over time. To counter this possibility, try to incorporate more physical activity during your non-working hours. When you are working, consider using ergonomic typing equipment and blue light reflectors to protect your eyes when staring at a screen.
2. Can be stressful
While the work of a court reporter is fairly predictable, it can also be stressful. These professionals usually have tight deadlines to meet each day, and multitasking for long periods of time can cause mental fatigue. During your breaks, perform activities that are calming or enjoyable. For example, you might read a book or watch funny online videos to help you de-stress so you can go back to work feeling revitalized.
3. Long working hours
While court reporters have flexible hours, this means that they might have long working hours. Court depositions can begin during the early morning or even late evening. Sometimes these proceedings can last for several hours at a time and require the reporter to work through that entire period. It’s important for court reporters to take consistent breaks in-between and stretch to help avoid becoming stiff or mentally fatigued from all the typing and sitting.
4. High accuracy expectations
To be a successful court reporter, it’s crucial that you type fast and accurately. This is important if you want to maintain a positive reputation in the field. Most employers require that your depositions and documents are 100% accurate. This can be challenging to do, even for seasoned reporters. To improve your accuracy, consider taking online practice courses during your free time. Keep practicing for accuracy until you can consistently type 100% error-free transcriptions.
I hope you find this articlehelpful.